By Andrew Hood
Tom Danielson reports he’s fully recovered from knee problems that derailed his Giro d’Italia hopes and now the Discovery Channel rider is anticipating a strong ride at the Vuelta a España. Danielson returned to competition in July, finishing a strong fifth at the Tour of Austria (July 4-10) and 16th at the Sachsen Tour in Germany (July 20-24). Both results are encouraging for Danielson after coming off the painful knee injury this spring. “I just finished 12 days of racing for this last month. I did the Tour of Austria and the Sachsen Tour. Both races came directly after my month’s rest to fix my knee so I was not in great form,” Danielson told VeloNews. “However, I worked hard in the races to progressively build my conditioning.” Danielson pulled out of the Giro suffering from tracking problems with his kneecap. Swelling in ligaments below his right knee caused his patella to grind out of its normal track, causing intense pain and swelling. Several weeks rest and intense physical therapy seems to have corrected the problems and Danielson reports he’s been training without any lingering pain, a good sign ahead of his next major goal. “The strength of my knee (is great). Both races were very up and down in horrible weather, and my knee felt stronger then ever,” he said. “I have been working very hard both on and off the bike, so it is nice to see the improvements along the way. As for my build up to the Vuelta that is to be decided as we get closer. I am very focused and excited, so I am sure this next month will fly by.”
Danielson took second in a 10km individual time trial in the Austria tour to secure the top 5, while at the Sachsen tour he was safely in the top 20 in terrain that didn’t suit his climbing legs. “In Austria, there were some good climbs and a good time trial to work with. In Sachsen it was completely flat with lots of crosswind, so I tried to go in breaks and work on my power. Three of the five days, I managed to get to the finish in the break. Both races were excellent training,” he said. “Right now I couldn’t be happier with how things are going.” Danielson now sets his sights on the Vuelta, where he hopes to finish his first three-week grand tour with a strong performance.
UCI investigating suspected positive at Tour
A support rider at the Tour de France tested positive for traces of a restricted substance, the UCI confirmed Thursday.
The UCI refused to name the rider pending an investigation by its anti-doping commission. However, UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said the case did not involve seven-time winner Lance Armstrong, Robbie McEwen or the Tour’s other top cyclists.
“It’s a second-tier rider,” Carpani told The Associated Press. “It’s not Lance Armstrong, it’s not Robbie McEwen. It’s not any of the leading riders.”
The unidentified rider tested positive for traces of norpseudoephedrine on July 6 after the fifth stage of the Tour at Montargis. McEwen won that stage. Norpseudoephedrine, also known as cathine, is closely related to pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in Sudafed and other over-the-counter cold remedies, was formerly a banned stimulant, but was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited substances list in Sept. 2003.
Studies show pseudoephedrine can be converted to norpseudoephedrine in the body. Permitted levels of norpseudoephedrine are restricted to a threshold of 5 micrograms per milliliter.
“The commission is studying the case but there is the possibility that there is no positive case,” Carpani said. “The commission will determine if there is in fact a case. Traces of norpseudoephedrine can occur if an athlete uses pseudoephedrine, which is legal.”
The Associated Press
Final 13 for Liberty for Vuelta
In no major surprise, Roberto Heras will lead Liberty Seguros to defend his title at the Vuelta a España. The Spanish team announced the 13 riders who will make up the nine-rider Vuelta line-up Wednesday, with three-time champion Heras leading the effort. Others include: René Andrle, Dariusz Baranowski, Joseba Beloki, Giampaolo Caruso, Koldo Gil, Igor González de Galdeano, Jan Hruska, Isidro Nozal, Sergio Paulinho, Michele Scarponi, Marcos Serrano and Ángel Vicioso. González de Galdeano, who abandoned the Tour de France in the first week, was forced to interrupt his training sessions after discovering a fracture in the coxis. He’s still hoping to race in the Vuelta. Here are the team’s rosters for upcoming races: HEW Cyclassics (July 31)
Tour of Benelux (Aug. 3-8)
Koen de Kort
Sergio PaulinhoGP Getxo (July 31)
Javier R. Abeja
José Antonio Redondo
Iván SantosVuelta a Burgos (Aug. 7-12)
Javier R. Abeja
José Antonio Redondo
Basso to race in Denmark
Tour de France runner-up Ivan Basso is busy this week appearing in post-Tour criteriums in Holland ahead of the Tour of Denmark (Aug. 3-8). According to Team CSC team spokesman Brian Nygaard, he’ll take a break until a return to racing sometime later this season. Contrary to some media reports, Nygaard confirmed Basso would not be racing in the GP San Francisco. French Tour ratings up
Just like OLN, Tour de France ratings were on the rise this year on French television. The average daily ratings on the daily broadcasts on French 2 were 4.2 million viewers, up from 4.1 million viewers in 2004, with an average 44.7 percent share. The final stage on the Champs Elysees drew the biggest audience with 7.7 million viewers while the mountain stage to Saint Lary Soulan drew a 52.8 percent share.